Thursday, February 28, 2013

Snow time to blog...

 It has been an entire week since I blogged.  Oops.  I just made a super cheesy blog title... oops again :) With a lack of Birthdays or holiday photos I realize I have less to say. I have wanted to blog and thought of posts to blog about but it hasn't happened.  I am going to try to do this blog without moving many photos around as I learned that when I switch the order it tends to distort the photos so you can't zoom in.  Sorry about that for those who like to see the pictures bigger than normal size. I had to transfer the top one to write this up here. 

We have had some really good days and some very rough days.  Through it all, God is faithful.  I will try to tell about the week through the photos below. Again, sorry that they are sometimes out of order.

 Brandon loves to go big whenever he does something.  I so appreciate this about him.  The snow was very sticky, but there was not too much of it.  I sent the boys outside and told them to make a "little" snowman.  T and I watched and Brandon kept making the snowman taller and taller.  By the end of the building it was almost 9 feet tall.  It was quite warm out, and it the snowman only lasted at most an hour before falling down completely.  I think it was a little too tall and lean to withstand the warm rainy weather. 

M: Daddy, how are you going to get that scarf up there?

M: I am REALLY tall now, but I look small next to my big snowman.

M: I don't think I can even see the top!
Before all the snow hit this week the weather was quite warm, warm enough to go on walks 3 days in a row.  T took Ergo naps each time and it was awesome to get out and get moving.

After T choking a couple too many times I remembered the food pouch.  I love these things and am so glad that T does too.  Sadly, M (who never would touch them when he was little) now tries to steal T's every chance he gets.  I may need to buy another one soon.
T: tasty food and no choking... score!

M has gotten REALLY into puzzles the last few weeks.  He was never big on them at all before which was so sad to me since I have a boatload of puzzles.  Finally he is loving them.  T just loves to make a mess, so puzzles are a great hit for each of them.  In the last few weeks he went from no puzzle skills to being able to do several styles of puzzles including the ones not on a board all on his own. 
M: OK T we are in a boat.

The kids have been loving playing peek-a-boo at dinner.  We have been fine with them doing it too, as that is one time when T is not self soothing by rocking or hitting.  We have been battling her almost constantly as she hits herself, swings her head, rocks and does other dangerous repetitive motions. Please pray for her, that she would be soothed by mommy and daddy and not by destructive self soothing. We have found the using the Ergo to get her to sleep at nap and bedtime is the best and safest option for us.
Where did T go?  Peek-A-Boo

Where did M go?  Peek-A-Boo

T: Daddy, I could use a little help here.

Sort of a "Where's M?" photo after a full morning of playing.
  The basement for the win... again!  T loves double pushing, but gets herself into some interesting positions.
T: Look, I can push two at once.

T: Hmm, this wasn't supposed to happen.

T: Maybe I should just lay down and be cute.

(really out of order) T: Yikes, now what?

And now... the BIG SNOW!!!!!  (and more very out of order photos)
M: The snow is eating me up!

M: I want to ride on your back (1 second before knocking T over and not getting to ride on my back)
 I think we got over a foot of VERY heavy snow... I shoveled our front porch yesterday and still feel like an Advil could help my back :)
Yesterday was a hard day.  There were moments of greatness, but the afternoon/evening was hard... so very hard...
I was trying to figure out when it all went downhill, and I think it was finger painting. 
It started with great joy.  LOTS of snow, a morning play date due to the snow day... and then the afternoon came. 
This is going to be a long story (feel free to skim) . 
I find it funny now, but at the time it was not.
You see, while T is sleeping and M  is awake we try to do something special together.  Often times it is crafting, reading, baking, puzzles, or just cuddling. 
Yesterday M took a very short nap... one of those nap times when I didn't even get my discipleship book done and I heard his little voice beckoning me.  I went upstairs and brought him down and we cuddled. 
I then read him 5 Bible stories and convinced him to do some coloring (not painting) while I finished my Bible Study.  He was game, but when I opened the craft cupboard and he saw the finger paints I knew I was in trouble.  I got them out and we were able to begin when T woke up (way earlier than normal). 
Now I am starting to panic as I was hoping to make beef stew for dinner.  The round steak needed to be cut, carrots, celery, and potatoes chopped and peeled etc.  I decided to give T a special snack (fruit in pouch and real puffs, the kind with sugar) and put her in her highchair.  I let M go to town and I started to peel potatoes. 
Well... M got out of control with the paints... and I peeled 1/4 of ONE potato.   You see I am allergic to puffs so every time I gave more to T I had to wash my hands. 
I was cutting meat so everything she wanted more I had to wash my hands.  The photos below show what was happening with the paint situation.
M: This is amazing.

Can you see how thick the paint is?  Well, just imagine fullish tubes squirted on a paper.
So now he was ready to be done... The smock did not hold back the paint as I had hoped so it was everywhere. 
T needs to be moved in her highchair into the bathroom as we were in there a while. 
Finally, M was clean and in his underwear. 
I put a couple of sweet potatoes in the oven for T.
T is still eating away. 
I put M's Miss Patty Cake DVD on and attempt to chop the rest of the meat for the stew. 
I email back and forth with my discipleship group and we decide to cancel group for the night due to snow. 
I just finish cutting meat and turn the stove on when the phone rings.
One of my incredible small group girls wonders if this is a good time to talk. 
Well, why not, right? 
She says I can call back at a better time, but hey this is life right now...
I put her on speaker and peel and chop etc. 
T is sad about the highchair she has been confined to so  I take her out.
I notice a smell, T has a stinky diaper.
Still talking on the phone I change a nasty diaper and get something for M. 
I notice another smell... my meat is burning...
M's movie is over, but I let him watch the extra song a few times. 
I pray with incredible girl and hang up.
I realize that somehow the bag of puffs is now all over the floor and T is spreading it around... ahh gluten and sugar everywhere...
Daddy comes home to shovel and mommy rejoices... maybe M would like to shovel too. 
I smell something burning...
I take the sweet potatoes out of the oven. 
T is on mommy's back and the stew is finally beginning to cook. 
I breathe. 
M is heading to the house with daddy in tears.  Apparently the snow blower was WAY.TO.LOUD!! 
We all watch as daddy and a friend blow through deep drifts and a pile at the end of the driveway not much shorter than me. 
At about 6:20 I eat with the kids.
Daddy comes in to eat about 6:40. 
The kitchen looks like a bomb went off in it.  The floor is SO sticky from the puff crumbs mixed with drool. 
I decide I need to take a 30 second bathroom break... I have been holding it since about 2:30.
Bedtime battles happen... typical...
Everything is cleaned up and ready for a new day by 10:30... we go to sleep praying for a better tomorrow.

Today was a great day.  We had a playgroup here this morning, productive nap time for kiddos and mama, Justine and the boys came over for a visit in the afternoon (and delivered my Trader Joe's order), easy dinner as it was leftover stew (which was yummy) and easy clean up after.  T went to sleep easily and Brandon (my hero in case you didn't know) rescued me with M so that I could write this blog!!!

T: Yes, I know I could just crawl around the chair, but I like a challenge!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Literally" Funny!

Our M is a hoot and a hand full these days.  I know that my memory fades quickly so I have to tell a couple of cute M stories while I can remember them (and while my kiddos are asleep). 

On Monday T had a horrible messy diaper... seriously she surpassed M in that one and M had the bar quite high.  M was so excited about the whole "nasty" experience.  When I was opening up the diaper he said, "Wow, this is an amazing parade."  I have no idea what that means, but when I asked him yesterday to remind me what he had said he repeated it so apparently it is a way for a 3 year old to express when something is really really great! 
Monday night Brandon had a meeting at church so we were trying to get M to finish his lentils.  He had taken his final huge bite when something happened.  I think that it was innocent in the start.  M spit out a tiny bit of his lentils... then noticing our reaction decided to go crazy spitting them everywhere... on himself, the floor, and daddy.  I had no idea he could store all that in his mouth.  I took him to the bathroom to get cleaned up.  I filled the sink with water and turned around to get a washcloth.  I came back to see that a clean hand towel had been dropped into the sink... Mama was not a happy camper. 

A few minutes later we are back in the kitchen and M is asking for his Bible (Jesus Storybook).  It is on the counter near him so Brandon hands it to him and says something like, "Maybe you can talk with Jesus about what you did." or "Maybe you can learn to make better choices from reading this." or something like it.  We can't remember what Brandon said.  We know it wasn't mean but possibly a bit sarcastic. 

M set the Bible on the table and started at the beginning flipping through looking for Jesus.  He had only made it to Noah so I said to keep on flipping.  He was going one page at a time and getting frustrated. I was on the floor cleaning up M's mess and then T's mess.  I flipped to Jesus with the loaves and fishes.
Me: There is Jesus.
M No mom, I need BIG Jesus.
Me: That is big Jesus, but you can keep flipping if you want.
M:  I want Jesus on the cross
I  am continuing to clean the floor
M:  Jesus is carrying the cross
Me: Well you are almost there
M:  (with excitement) Here is Jesus on the cross.  (pauses and takes a deep breath, looks straight at Jesus and stands tall in his chair)  Jesus I need to talk to you. I am sorry that I spit my lentils all over the floor and all over daddy.  That was a bad decision.  I was wrong.  I put a towel in the sink.  That was wrong too.  I am sorry.  I won't do it again.  (closes the Bible and then says to me) Mommy, I just talked with Jesus about what I did wrong. 

My heart just melted and the joy that was gone returned.  My son gets confession (in a literal and 3 year old way).  He also gets forgiveness because he knew that Jesus died on the cross to pay for the bad decisions we make. 

We are so thankful for Jesus!  That day in Jesus Calling I read Jesus reminder that He is with us.  Though out the day I kept saying out loud and to myself, "You are with me Jesus." It was a fitting way to end the dinner time mess with a 3 year old reminder of the Holy Spirit here in our home, interceding, and answering prayers I can't think to pray.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

First Valentine's Day, First Birthday and more!

Thursday was T's first Valentine's Day.  We were all decked out in Valentine gear for the occasion.  We went for a walk with our dear friends.  T did great in the Ergo and M and L were cozy in the Burley cart.  It was snow/raining, but Charissa and I both agreed that it felt good to get out of the house and move a bit. 

After the walk we attempted to get into the car to go to the Chiropractor's office. It took 16 long and painful minutes for Charissa and I (both working) to get the car seat into the back seat of my 2 door Cavalier.  Yes college friends, I am still driving the 1999 Cavalier... though during those minutes I was thinking that a minivan might be needed by the time the day was over.  SIXTEEN minutes later we heard the beautiful latch and we finally figured out the trick to getting it in.  T was NOT happy about being jerked around by two mamas in a hurry.  She cried a lot all the way to the Dr's office.  Of course we were late.  Of course there were tons of forms to fill out for T.  Of course I didn't know Brandon's social so I had to call him... BUT the cool news... The receptionist offered to hold T while I filled out the paperwork.  It might have been because I had crossed out almost everything I had written due to errors.  Anyway, T was not happy at all to be held by another woman.  Great news!!  She keeps wanting to come back to her people.  Way to go T!!!  The adjustments went very well.  We are all activator users.  T's back was great and actually the only thing that was off for her was her pelvis.  I was out all over, and M was quite a bit too. 

Getting T back into the car was quite uneventful... yes Cavalier, I can handle you for a few more months... and then summer can come and we can walk and won't need a car much at all... We stopped at the Dr's office on the way home to have T's arm read for TB and all was fine.  Yes! 

We tried to take some photos in the evening, but they were not super successful.  T is a mover!!! 

The best photo of the three of us, you can all see the cute Valentine's shirts, right?
M: Ouch, she is hitting me (and she was)
M was done with photos so mommy and T got his one... me and my baby Valentine.

Friday was our first small group with T.  There were 16 of us.  We had a great time.  T did great.  I can't believe we didn't take any pictures.  Opps.  Well, just imagine a kitchen full of people and food.  Friday morning we were able to spend time with a local family with kiddos from China.  The kids all played so well together.  My darlings both had great naps in the afternoon.  We had a successful day because we made it an entire day without calling daddy to rescue us! 

Random note on M: M has been saying such funny things lately involving pretending.  I am forgetting one of them, but in the last two days he has asked me to pretend to be a light bulb and pretend to be a cow escaping.  Silly guy!

Saturday was T's first Birthday.  In the International Adoption world, having a child home for their first Birthday is a huge deal!  We feel so blessed to know that T never had a single Birthday without her family while she waited. 

T's First Birthday outfit.  After previous photo shoots I decided it might be best to get a photo of just the outfit so you all can read/see it.

My stunning beauty on her first Birthday!

T at 12 month.. her first red chair shot.

We took off the tutu so you could see her size better.  Apparently that was her ticket to wiggle!

My fearless daughter!

M tires to hold her down.

So we decided to just let her stand next to the chair!

I made T a banana bread cake (and one for M too) so she could gobble it up and smash it etc.  Both kids had a blast.  Brandon noticed that T's upper right tooth came through which is her #3 tooth.  This morning when I was changing her diaper she grinned and I noticed the other top tooth came in too.  This means it might have popped through last night.  So basically she has 4 teeth at her first Birthday.  Here are some photos of the "cake."  I realize there are a lot of them and they are a lot alike, but I like them.
T is super excited about her "cake."  M needed a candle in "his" cake too.  Check out their matching bibs.  T's has sleeves. 
T: Can we really tear this apart?

M: We sure can let me show you how it is done!

M: There you go T.

This is fun!

Hey, who needs a plate?  Not this one year old.
Here mom, you can have the plate.


Hey, where did that leg come from? Oh yea, it is mine.

The view from above... sadly M enjoyed helping himself to much of what fell down so this photo dose not capture all that was on the floor.

T can Praise the LORD with her hands and leg raised... she is growing into her name nicely :)

T started sucking on her foot so we thought a ziplock bag might be the trick... and it was... for about 20 seconds.

Today, Sunday, T and I stayed home from church.  M went with friends.  Brandon did his first message back and talked about our journey to T etc.  I am so excited to listen to the talk soon.  I think he is excited for me to listen too since I have asked him so many details about it. 

This evening Brandon moved the basement swing to a better location and hung up a second swing.  The kids were thrilled to both be able to swing at the same time. 
Two swings in action.

You might have noticed many mentions of other people in this post.  Yes, we are still cocooning but we are branching out a little bit.  We are still staying away from big box stores and crowded places, church, groups like library etc.  We are also staying out of other people's homes so we can continue to establish this house as home.  If you are a local person who is dear to us and you have not yet met T, send me an email or FB message and we would love to have you over for a short time to meet T soon.  Brandon and I  (and M to some degree) are the only ones who hold her, feed her, hug/kiss her, change her diapers, dress her, bathe her make lots of eye contact with her etc.  I long for the day when I can run to Target with T or attend church as a family.  Those days will come... in time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fun February Fotos

Our lives have been quite eventful the past few days.  T had a very successful first Dr's visit.  Our Doctor (who is also M's) marveled at how healthy T is.  Besides her "special need" she is totally healthy.  She is 15 percentile height, 5 percentile head circumference, and 0 percentile weight.  She weighs 15.4 pounds and is 28 inches long.  M was thrilled that T decided to "pee on the firetruck" while we were there.  Her diaper was removed for the exam and since she had just had a bottle she needed to go.  The exam table is a firetruck so if you see M soon and he tells you about his sister I am sure you will get a first hand account.

Ch!nese New Year was celebrated here in costume only.  We love doing traditional things from our children's countries, but so early on with T we opted to get the kids dressed up and do a photo shoot.  I am not totally sure, but I wonder if the clothes were injected with some sort of dye causing children to act a little crazy.  They were hilarious, but seriously could not sit still at all.  I have never seen them like this.  The photos are proof.

M invented a game last night that he calls "the adoption game."  He pretends to be alone and "without a family" and wants a social worker to call me and for me to say yes to the referral and to fly on a plane to get him.  We have gotcha day moments over and over again.  Then we adopt T and then he adopts me.  So very special for me to tell him over and over again that I am his mama and that I love him.  That I am not perfect, but that I am thankful he is in my family forever.

M has been telling us lately, "I can see really well in the dark."  We ask him why and he says very seriously, "because I have brown skin."  We then ask him what color skin we have and he usually says, "brown, just like me."  Not sure what that is all about.  One time he did say that we have grey skin.  Grey?  Hmm,  I think we really need summer to get her quickly if my skin is turning grey.

 T has rammed me head to head twice now when I am trying to put her down for a nap.  I have quite a beauty of a bruise near my eye... Can I say that my 11 month old gave me a black eye?  Not sure, but I might use that as a warning to possible suitors MANY years from now.

One more thing and then lots of photos, I promise.  Some of these photos and captions might appear random, but if you see "quotes" around what Mikias "said" they are exact quotes from him when we took the photo.

 With Valentine's Day tomorrow and T's B-day on Saturday I am thinking there will be another photo post again soon. 
Hi everyone, thanks for looking at our blog!

We hope you enjoy our photos!
This is as good as it gets!

I can't stand still for a photo in my new clothes, I must dance!
T: What?  You mean my leg shouldn't  be in the air during photos?  I just feels right mommy. (our best photo of them)

T:  How about if I just use my other leg to play guitar?  (How is her onesie showing... did you see how long this dress is?)

She just crawled right in my lap, and I take care of her.

Monkey See Monkey Do (Seriously they didn't sit  for a tenth of a second... I know they are 0 and 3, but they usually do so well... it was so hilarious)

T:  This is the most fun I have ever had. 

And mommy joining the mix didn't make it better at all.

I am taller than this tower.  I am very powerful.

They were about to kiss... this is just before a major fall and a declaration that M would not be carrying T or "helping" her walk anytime soon.

M - the store owner with attitude.  He beckons guests, but then when we arrive at his drive through he is often sleeping or unable to give us what we want.

Come on summer, I am ready!

"I look like a mail carrier"  (direct quote)

M isn't the only one who likes the basement swing... Daddy and M made a hardware store run tonight so that they can both swing soon. 

Anyone want to join me in my airplane?

Last night with great glee from T and cheering from the fan club T began walking with this push cart thing. 
I will show you how to walk with a cart T. 

It is OK to fall T.  I will fall too!

M was getting undressed for bed, but of course decided he needed to get redressed... backwards head to toe.
Is this the front or the back of my son?  M is hanging up T's favorite Christmas photo... again... He is saying "TG we must leave the photos on the door."  Yes, he decided to start using her middle name last night and today.  I didn't even know he knew it.  It so sweet to hear him say it.
I am good at feeding my baby sister

... and 10 seconds later it was mommy's turn. 
 It isn't all fun and games around here folks.  There is one in our crew who is happy sometimes and very sad other times.  We are filling his love tank in any love language he will accept.  Today it was a sick tray of his favorite special treats while watching Miss Patty Cake.  Can you tell he just wailed for about an hour before this photo was taken?  Thank you all for your prayers as we transition. We pray this this hard season will be short for our little man.

Hmmm... this tray is incredible.

Good job eating sweet girl.

Tonight M decided, finally, that he likes my meatloaf.  He decided to help himself (while totally destroying the look of the whole pan).  While scooping he said, "I'm a big strong man." 

Look at the size of that 4th helping. 

A big brother's work is never done, but these buckles are hard.